One of the first things that many, if not most, of us look for when a new MMO is in development, is how much customization we will given for our characters. We look for body sliders, facial models, hairstyles, eye color varieties, racial models and many, many others. We want our characters, these pixelated extensions of ourselves, to mean something, to be a true in-game representation of how we see them 'alive' in the world. Looks certainly aren't all that matters, but customization often ranks very high high on players' MMO wishlists.
Character creation is only the first step we take to make each character unique. In game armors, dyes, tabards, helms, cloaks (and the ability to show them or not), weapons, effects and more also contribute to make our budding heroes into something special that belongs only to us.
How many MMOs have implemented what are essentially costuming systems? World of Warcraft practically has a cottage industry in "mogging'. Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic both have added the Wardrobe system. Neverwinter, Rift...you get the idea. More and more games are giving us the opportunity to individualize our characters in thousands of different ways.
If creating a one-of-a-kind character isn't enough, MMOs have added mounts of such astonishing variety that it's unusual to see any two characters sitting in any game's most populated center that looks exactly like any other. Spice up those mounts by making some of them rare drops in dungeons, raids or from world bosses which makes them difficult, if not almost impossible, to find, and we feel even more special, and more unique once one is obtained (I'm looking at you, Invincible!).
Some of us have worked for weeks, months, maybe even for years to create just the right look for the 'toons that have come to mean so much to us. We strut proudly on the Imperial or Republic Fleet. We vainly sit astride our rarest mount in our classiest 'mog in front of the auction house in Orgrimmar or Stormwind. We parade around (or used to anyway) Lion's Arch in our finery.
It is also no secret that we all, or most of us anyway, observe and admire one another's attire --- or, conversely, we cringe at the abominable taste in fashion that some players display. If only MMOs employed fashion police. I think we'd all feel a lot better.
Today's column isn't all about me telling you about why character customization in all its many forms is important. I think that we can all agree that it is indeed of significant importance to many of us.
No, today is all about you, dear friends. Show us what you've got in the comments. Pick your favorite game, your favorite character, your best fashonista and let us take a gander at you in all your glory.
It may be shallow, but looks really do matter...at least in our MMOs. Prove it!